47 year-old amateur gran fondo and MTB cyclist Samanta Bellinzona has been suspended by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) following a positive test for the substance Methylhexanamine. A prohibited stimulant derived from natural geranium oil, extract, stems and leaves.

The in-competition test on 20 February 2021 was carried out by ordered by the Ministry of Health at the Campione d’Inverno race where Bellinzona finished third in a field of three women.

Just prior to last year’s pandemic shut-down of amateur cycling events in Italy, Bellinzona soloed to victory at the Granfondo di Casteggio 81 kilometre medio fondo race, finishing in 2:25:04.

Methylhexanamine is a stimulant that was added to the World Anti Doping Agency list of banned substances in 2009. It was developed for use as an ingredient of nasal decongestants, and has since become a popular component of dietary supplements. Athletes taking it have reported increased energy, elevated mood, better breathing, and weight loss.

National anti-doping agencies have issued advisories on the substance. It seems athletes are consuming products sold as dietary supplements that openly list Methylhexaneamine on their labels, products such as Jack3d, Lipo-6-Black, Hemo-Rage Black, Spriodex, Clear Shot and many others.

Anti doping agencies advise athletes to steer clear of these type of products that advertise containing Methylhexaneamine or if “geranium” is listed as an ingredient, which could be synthetic methylhexaneamine and also return a positive test for banned substances.

A NADO hearing has yet to be scheduled for Bellinzona, where she is expected to use the “tainted supplement” defense and seek a light sentence.

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